The Internet of Things promises to influence how we plan, use, and think about corporate office space in the near future. What impacts should architects and interior designers anticipate? Here are five ways we predict the IoT will affect the business and practice of workplace design:
- Space Utilization Analysis. Sensors in mobile devices or light fixtures already allow facilities managers and designers to track human activity across the office, giving them a deeper understanding of which spaces get a lot of use and which don’t. The ability to parse this treasure trove of data quickly will lead many organizations to rethink their real estate strategy. Design Impact: Space utilization data analysis may inspire an increase in office renovations as facilities owners and managers seek more efficient use of space.
- Jumping on the Bandwidth. With nearly every object able to generate data, organizations will need high-performing wireless networks to handle it. The IoT employs four basic types of connectivity: Device-to-Device, Device-to-Cloud, Device-to-Gateway, and Back-End Data-Sharing. These connections can be made via various protocols, including but not limited to WiFi, cellular, Bluetooth, low-power wide-area networks, and ethernet. Design Impact: Clients with inadequate connectivity will want additional Access Points that support the latest wireless standards. Network surveys can determine if a space has enough coverage.
- Cutting the Cord. With a telecom infrastructure able to support wireless data transmission, even devices such as flatscreens won’t have to be hardwired in, leading to reduced installation cost. Configuration will be simpler too, with easy set-up through apps and greater interoperability between devices. Design Impact: Increasingly freed from the plug, workspaces will be able to support even more movement and flexibility.
- Active Interactions. With fewer wires and greater interoperability between devices, meetings and presentations will become more interactive. Presenters will take advantage of the ability to send information directly to participants’ personal devices, or to broadcast data on collaborative displays such as smart whiteboards. In addition, remote meeting participants will benefit from immersive telepresence including virtual environments. Design Impact: This will call for a design rethinking of the conference room built environment. Eventually it will become less focused on the big screen and may evolve toward an “in the round” theater-like set-up.
- Printers that Think. Basic office management tasks will become automated. Printers will order their own ink, HVAC systems will adjust to individual temperature zones, and security cameras will recognize faces. Design Impact: As the automation of these tasks lessens the need for receptionists and office managers, lobby design will focus on client experience through branded digital displays that aid in wayfinding and are entertaining and interactive.
Interested in a conversation about the IoT’s impact on your design practice? Contact us through the form at the bottom of this page.